The thing I love most about my new role is that no two days are ever the same. My timetable reflects the scheduled classes and meetings, bus duties and crossing duties that occupy my time at school. If you open my daily diary, there are numerous annotations and inclusions that no timetable could reflect. It certainly makes for interesting reading and I think reflects quite accurately, my role as curriculum coordinator. I have to say that using an iPad has proven to be a useful way to keep my chronicle of classes and notes from all sorts of meetings and conversations.
I have loved the fact that my role encompasses so much. It relies on big picture thinking, creativity and divergent thinking. It also requires time management and well honed skills in organising and prioritising a whole range of tasks. A balance between macro and micro. I am enjoying the duality of this role immensely. I have learn’t so much from the talented educators, particularly the conversations about learning that I’ve had with new scheme teachers. We have some enthusiastic and engaged new scheme teachers who are truly committed to being the best teachers that they can be. I love listening to them talk about their teaching and learning experiences. Some of them are quite reflective and it’s clear that they have given thought to the pedagogy in their classrooms. I have loved some of their ‘left of field’ questions about how to approach the teaching of subject matter. I was asked by one teacher as to how I would go about teaching the changes to the translation of the Nicene and Apostles Creed. Mindmapping that lesson with her was a great experience.
I have also enjoyed the unexpected visitors to my office. I have established an open door policy, to encourage people to come in and have a chat about learning, about teaching, about their classes, about their role as teacher. Yesterday, a member of the English department came in and sat by the bookshelves in my office and marvelled over the collection. The IT administrator likes to come by to see the two bonsai plants on my desk. I have never had so many conversations about eLearning spurned by a mutual love of bonsai!
I have also tried really hard to encourage the subject coordinators to come by and have a conversation with me about their roles as leaders of their respective departments. I’ve met with some of them and have had great conversations about the nature of assessment and areas of focus for their staff, for the year. They are knowledgeable, hard working and generous with their time.
Working in a school executive is a new experience for me. Last year I was part of the ‘middle management’ – an English Coordinator who saw the world through these eyes. I loved this role because, with my fabulous colleagues, we had cultivated and nurtured a shared vision as to what we wanted to achieve in our department. I saw my role as building capacity in others. I loved it when my colleagues would write articles for publications, would share their experiences in staff meetings and would present or run workshops for professional development of staff in the school. Our English Dept was our Rosebud, our Xanadu.
This year, I have been so excited to be part of the vision of the school. I love it that in our executive meetings we discuss pedagogy, learning, creativity. There is a focus on vision and building capacity in others. I love it that I have been charged with responsibility for putting together ideas for a staff day devoted to curriculum, early this semester. I love it that in one day I can talk about flexible learning spaces and the pedagogy of learning spaces and in the next day, I can be counselling a student about subject choices or having a conversation with my mentor. I love it that in the morning I could be talking about how we can best support the great talent in the senior dance class and in the afternoon, be talking about our cross-curricular learning project currently run in year 7.
I love this kind of challenge. I love it that the only certainty of the day are the classes that I teach. I love it that I don’t know what will unfold when I step into my office in the morning. I love the big picture, holistic view of the College and being part of making the vision a reality – and more importantly, building capacity in others and empowering them to make the vision a reality. It is great working with a leadership team that engenders a love of learning in staff and students.
It is indeed a privilege to be an educator.